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Buying a house that needs work when you have young children - how did you manage this?

(16 Posts)
Honey1975 Tue 07-Feb-17 14:18:49

So as per my other thread, we are seriously considering putting an offer in on a house in the next road as we love where we live but need more room.

The house we're looking at needs decorating & updating throughout. We would also want to covert the garage to a playroom & have a new kitchen put in whilst changing the conservatory into utility room. We've taken a builder round to get an idea of cost.

We would need to do all the stripping wallpaper, painting etc in every room ourselves. On top of that we'd builders around for about 3 months. Having not had to do much in our current house I'm considering how we would go about all of this when we both work and have 2 quite lively children who like our attention!

I'm not for a moment thinking it will be easy but I guess I'm thinking it will be worth it for the long term and it's the only way we'll able to afford a bigger family home.

How have other people done it? Is it a case of every weekend doing house stuff and using holiday until it's done. Does it put a strain on the family not being able to spend so
much time together?

QuattroFormaggio Tue 07-Feb-17 14:31:40

We've lived in while doing this twice. Well, three times but twice with young kids. Things that make it much easier are having a good chunk of money to get lots of work done quickly (it's far harder if it stretches out interminably before you), a reliable builder (means you don't have to stress about problems as you can trust them to just sort it), managing to be laid back about dust/living in a building site and, most importantly, keep reminding yourself of why you're doing it. If it's the only way to get the house you want then it's definitely worth it. On the plus side the kids really don't care about living with dodgy carpet and decor and dust. It is annoying having to strip wallpaper/paint on evenings or weekends but keep your eyes on the prize ;)

Honey1975 Tue 07-Feb-17 14:38:00

Thank you Quattro that is really encouraging. We are not natural diyer's but I do keep thinking how nice it could be and then we can enjoy living in it so would be worth it.

frenchfancy Tue 07-Feb-17 14:43:14

You have big plans to change everything. Do the important stuff - then run out of steam and end up living with stuff you don't like for years. In my experience anyway.

jerryfudd Tue 07-Feb-17 14:46:55

We've been doing ours up (including extensions, conservatory, new kitchen, new floor joists, utility, doors etc) since buying it 4 years ago. We're nearly at the end with virtually everything having been redone. The kids were 3 (about to turn 4 and start school) and 2 when we started. We've managed to have it all done around us, to be honest I don't think kids know any different now

vvviola Tue 07-Feb-17 14:51:58

We've learned to live with "ugly".

The place we bought over the summer hadn't been touched since it was built in the early 80s. It needs new bathrooms, we want to do some minor construction and it needs a new kitchen.

But money is a bit tight so we are DIYing things for now. Or rather DH mostly does the DIY and I mostly manage the house and wrangle the children.

We've found that we can live with the old kitchen and the old ugly bathrooms, and that small decor projects make the house feel so much better (DH has put laminate down in the hall and replaced all the internal doors). It'll be years before we are done, but because the house works as it is, I'm happy to put off the new bathroom and kitchen (and an extension that's part of the longer term plan) for the time being while doing the smaller jobs.

I wouldn't be prepared to do it if the house didn't work well without the changes.

That said, it helps that DH is very handy too. According to a builder who came in recently to quote for something, the work he has done so far has saved us over €1000.

mousehouse123 Tue 07-Feb-17 14:57:50

We're just nearing the end of this too. We've spent about 5 evenings out of 7 for the last 2 years working on it. We did something most weekends too, sometimes an awful lot on weekends. We're both fairly handy but it really helped that our builder was great and was happy to tell us what to do to be getting on with useful stuff. He and my husband also did whole days together on Saturdays which worked well. The hardest parts for us were having such short snippets of time in which to do stuff (by the time you've got everything ready on an evening, you can only get a decent amount done if you carry on until late) and also having to drag the kids round to look at things on weekends. It got to the point where they thought that my idea of a treat was a family trip to a tile showroom ...

It's hard work, but its lovely. Yes, we've made money on the house, but more importantly to us, it's just how we want it and really suits the way we live as a family.

My tip would be that, if you can, live in it for a while before you decide what to do. Our house was liveable, but tasteless. It took us over 2 years to get going on our plans, but they'd changed a lot over that time and really gave us the chance to work things out properly rather than rush into things.

JaniceBattersby Tue 07-Feb-17 15:12:07

We're serial house renovators. We're on our fourth now. When we started, we had no kids and it took us six months (we do all of the work ourselves apart from bricklaying).

Now we have four kids and this house has taken us four years and counting. What basically happens now is I look after the children while my husband spends most evenings and weekends working on the house while the main building is going on. When we're past the plastering stage we take it at a slower pace.

My children get stuck in a bit too (putting stuff in the skip etc).

You have to accept that for a while the kids are going to be pretty grubby most days because of the dust. Nothing a good bath won't remove. It's also often pretty cold in the house because there's a wall knocked down, a carpet up or an unsealed window frame somewhere.

You will hit a wall at some point where you look around and despair, and cry, and think you're never going to finish (see grand designs. Woman is usually pregnant again by this point, it's January, bucketing it down, the site is a quagmire and there's no roof on) But don't worry - the darkest hour is before the dawn! You'll be over the hump soon.

JaniceBattersby Tue 07-Feb-17 15:14:37

Oh yes, and as mousehouse'said, get ready to fool the kids into thinking an afternoon at Wickes is fun!

And find out the opening hours of all your local builders' merchants. Nothing worse than running out of 2x4 at 12.01 on a Saturday when they all open mornings only.

Redkite10a Tue 07-Feb-17 15:15:10

We moved in 2 years 3 months ago and have so far done some internal decorating and quite a bit of garden landscaping (big garden). We have got quotes but have put off the big internal remodelling job we want to do until we have a bit more money saved as we have realised we won't be able to do as much ourselves as we'd thought now we have DCs. We also haven't done any more decorating since DC1 started walking, he would want to 'help' and isn't old enough to understand keeping out of paint pots and away from sharp objects.

We have a just turned 2 year old and a 3 month old. It has involved me doing a lot of childcare by myself while DH does stuff. We spend a lot of our weekends on it, and things take massively longer than they would have pre children as ours are still small enough that DH needs to stop what he is doing to come in and help either supervise children or do cooking and cleaning. It works because DH enjoys doing stuff outside, so is happy to work hard on it and use all his 'me' time on it and I like being outside so am happy we have family time outside where i supervise DC1 'helping'. If neither of you likes DIY I think it could be a bit of a slog....

Honey1975 Tue 07-Feb-17 15:55:00

Thats a great tip mouse thanks.

beepbeep Tue 07-Feb-17 16:00:58

We moved in Jan with 3 kids under 7 and a dog. No working kitchen, bathroom or central heating. Electrics also needed doing. Carpets disintegrated under foot - it was great!! We have put in kitchen, replaced bathroom, plastered throughout, central heating & electrics (oh & pulled out old fire and replaced, boarded loft etc) in the last year. We lived in whilst we did it, the kids I think have enjoyed it and helped out where they could (there were times I was desperate to move to a B&B!!). Thing that made it easier was having a chunk of money to do everything rather than it taking years.

Now on to the extension!!

Honey1975 Tue 07-Feb-17 16:13:09

Hmm sounds like having the bulk of the money needed to get it done quick is the key!
Do people work out pretty thoroughly what things will cost before putting an offer in? I have no idea really even what it would cost to re-carpet throughout as never had to buy a carpet yet! Then there's new front door things like curtains/blinds. It'll add up won't it. Don't want to be left with half finished kitchen as run out of money😄

thenewaveragebear1983 Tue 07-Feb-17 21:44:25

We bought a bigger house that needed cosmetic work throughout. We have 3dc, one is at home with me all day. I have found it frustrating that there's so much I want to do but can't. The bigger jobs that you need someone in for in a way are easier because you can just leave them to it. We've made good progress though, but it's largely down to me; I spend every day I get to myself (one day a week at the moment) doing work. So far in 10 weeks I've : painted the lounge and dining room; painted all 3 kids bedrooms, learned to wallpaper and papered the hall, painted the downstairs loo, and begun the hall stairs and landing painting. We've had people in to do rewiring, replace a roof, new front door and back door, repair the chimney. We're having the playroom done in 2 weeks and the garden done in March.

I dream of having a few weeks child free to really crack on with everything! The hassle is having to clear everything away because of the dc being around. It's do-able but you need to be patient (which I'm not!) and just do what you can when you can. Good luck!

thenewaveragebear1983 Tue 07-Feb-17 21:49:30

Oh and re; budget- we have a pot of £17000 and it's going to do: all of the above, plus rendering needs replaced, we're buying a climbing frame for the garden, roof needs the ridge tiles done, we're carpeting 3 rooms next week, we've needed furniture and curtains for most rooms and there's about 2k left for emergencies! We haven't had to do any bathrooms or kitchens though.

venys Wed 08-Feb-17 01:32:03

If I were to buy our house again I would have e scaled back the works. Not bothered changing the kitchen apart from finding a place for a full sized fridge and just done the bare minimum to make the electrics safe rather than a full rewire. It's because that alone destroys your entire house. I havent had the greatest of trades people so that has soured it somewhat. And I only had a few months where I could spend a few hours doing DIY before I had the third child. Now OH has one or two hours a week max to do any work which only means one small thing. And there are LOTS of small things. I have had no proper storage for 2 years so I am stuck at home going bonkers with the house. Certainly get someone to do the playroom and that can be done without too much disruption to your lives. Live with the funky decor if you can - kids only ruin it anyways . OR have a big chunk of money and get everything done BeFORE you move in. Neighbours did that and they are much saner - although I couldn't live with their kitchen!!

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